Death to the dock! Bluetooth speaker selection grows and sales show no signs of slowing down

consumer momentum on adoption of bluetooth speakers remains rapid

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The portable Bluetooth market is growing rapidly, and we’re beginning to see several new companies throw their hats in the ring to see if they can successfully tap into the market. According to Twice.com‘s recent article on the explosive growth within the speaker market, we have seen this segment grow in 2012 496% with sales of over 2.2 million Bluetooth speakers. A lot of this growth is attributed to the widespread adoption of the smartphone and more specifically, Android devices. The size of the Bluetooth speaker market is reported to be $264 million in 2012 according to NBD research. With this type of growth in 2013, this gadget could be a billion dollar market just in the US.

Boombotix CEO, Lief Storer commented, “we see a lot of viability in the Bluetooth speaker segment, but with so many players in the space, brands that can innovate with design and standout feature sets will be the only winners. We also expect to see the market become segmented  almost like what you see with bikes. You don’t just get a bike anymore. You get a road bike, a mountain bike, and possibly a commuter.”

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Characteristics and Properties of Wireless Portable Speakers

the comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about wireless portable speakers

If you’re curious to know about wireless portable speakers, this article goes into great depth on every aspect of these devices from construction, materials, acoustic properties and more.  Boombotix has been building wireless portable speakers for over three years now, so we figured we’d share some of our knowledge for your reference.  If you are looking to build your own wireless portable speakers, you may also want to reference this article on hardware product design.  You may learn a lot from our product design and use it as a starting point for your personal wireless speaker project.  If you have any questions, feel free to comment and we will see if we can be of assistance.  Let’s get right into it.

1. Wireless Portable Speaker Overview
1.1 Primary Parts and Funtions of a Wireless Portable Speaker
1.2 Why most wireless portable speakers use Bluetooth
1.3 Bluetooth Signals and Protocols
1.4 Other wireless audio protocols
2. Parts and Characteristics of Wireless Portable Speakers in Detail
2.1 Speaker Diaphragm
2.2 Speaker Magnets/Audio Transducer
2.3 Impedance Rating
2.4 Weatherproofing/Ingress Protection Rating
3. Portable Wireless Speaker Electronics
3.1 Class-D Amplifier
3.2 Bluetooth Module with Built On MCU
3.2 Lithium Polymer Batteries
4.Mechanics of Wireless Portable Speakers
4.1 Wireless Portable Speaker Acoustics
4.2 Portable Speaker Connectors
5. Firmware Programming on Wireless Portable Speakers
6. Where to buy Wireless Portable Speakers
7. Conclusion

1  Wireless Portable Speaker Overview

This is an exploded view of the Boombot REX2 wireless speaker.  This rendering shows you all of the primary mechanical components typically found in a wireless portable speaker.

This is an exploded view of the Boombot REX wireless speaker. This rendering shows you all of the primary mechanical components typically found in a wireless portable speaker.

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Best Wireless Portable Speakers Faceoff – JBL Charge vs. Boombot REX

Portable Speaker Review- JBL Charge v Boombot REX

great sound comes in small and smaller packages

By the time we had pulled out the JBL Charge from the box, we’d already gone through handfulls of speakers.  We were expecting to hear something a lot like the Philips ShoqBox, but there might just be a little bit more to this Tall Boy sized guy.  Most of the products around this size got man-handled by the output of the little Boombot REX.  Finally, something stood its ground and provided a worthy opponent. JBL is certainly no stranger to making thumping sound systems, but this would really be the test on whether their brand could take their line into the world of portable speakers.  These are some of the loudest portable speakers in the game and we hope this article helps pick which is right for you.

Portable Speaker Review -JBL-Charge-versus-Boombot-REX-Chart

 Price

The JBL Charge goes for the Amazon street price of $149.99 while the Boombot REX tips the scale at $119.99.

features + DESIGN

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It was actually pretty interesting stacking these two competitors next to each other.  The JBL Charge seemed to be missing a lot of rudimentary features that would be expected from a speaker at that price point.  However, it has an internal 6000mAh battery that provides enough juice for a robust amp AND the USB out.  If you’ve ever uses a Mophie Juice Pack, you’ll love that you can get several charges on your smartphone from the speaker itself.  Pretty clutch feature.

The form factor of the JBL charge isn’t particularly amusing.  The plastic seems strong and the overall build quality is sturdy.  It has this design that seems to transgress between being a rugged outdoor product and a traditional gadget.  Seems to be a slight ID crisis, but there is nothing that’s standout ugly.  As mentioned, the JBL Charge is about the same size as a PBR 32oz Tall Boy so it’s easy enough to lug around, although I would hesitate on a longer hike as this has a pretty substantial weight.

Boombot-REX-Splash2

The Boombot REX maintains a much lighter frame while still having clean, sharp, bold lines.  At about one-third of the spacial volume of the JBL charge, the Boombot REX is a better alternative for those looking to travel greater distances with their speaker.  The Boombot REX includes several bells and whistles not found on the JBL charge including a track control interface and Siri/Voice-Control integration.  Boombot REX also incorporates daisy-chain capability.  If it can’t outdo the Charge with one, it sure as hell can with two!

SOUND

No joke, the JBL Charge was one of the most impressive sounding speakers we had tested.  The amount of bass generated from this thing is truly remarkable.  The Boombot REX actually had very similar mid range and high range to the JBL Charge, but the low end bass was certainly dominated by the JBL Charge.

the verdict

If you are more of a backyard horse shoe throwing candidate that doesn’t need a lot of versatility, OR  you just don’t mind size/weight, the JBL Charge is the ticket.  If you are a little more on the adventurous side and want a speaker that won’t slow you down, the Boombot REX is a standout player on that category.  Overall, the handsfree and microphone capabilities of the Boombot REX make it a more versatile product, but the JBL Charge certainly has its’ place in the world of top portable speakers.  Thanks for checking out our portable speaker reviews.  Let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to test.

Radio station controls mood with music

Improves focus, aids in sleep, reduces anxiety

Yoda listening to music

Where’s your head at? (at? at? at?) Are you in a mood that you want to be in – or are you in a state of mind that you’d like to get out of?

With Brain Shift Radio, created by the Strong Institute, you can choose how you want to feel. The station is based on nearly 30 years of research on “Rhythmic Entertainment Intervention”— or using music to shift people’s moods from one state to another.

Music and the brain

The interactive radio app (subscription-based) specializes in playing rhythm and ambient tracks that can adjust the psychological and physiological aspects of the listener’s brain.

Simply make a choice on what kind of mood you want to be — whether you need an energy boost or you’re trying to fall asleep — and the station will churn out music based on the aforementioned years of research and data.

Tracks can be remixed and changed out according to what the listener wants to hear, and the site’s community actively works to build newer and better mixes.

All mixes are streamed at a high-quality and very easy to use player.

Brain Shift Radio

As the listener rates and saves mixes, the radio app learns preferences and can make choices from there on out (kind of like Pandora). It’s an awesome idea and if you combine it with one of kick-ass wireless speakers, you could have everyone around you mellowed out too:

Mellowed out group

^Group listening to ambient channel on one of our popular portable boomboxes (or what we imagine it would look like).

Apple expected to announce new headphones

To tie in with another big announcement having to do with a new iPhone or something

Apple press conference

Let me just say – our balls are JUICED when it comes to Apple’s press conference this week.

If you missed the announcement about the announcement, it’s this Wednesday, and Apple is expected to formally detail the next reincarnation of the iPhone: the “iPhone 18” or the “New-New iPhone” . . . something along those lines.

iPhone 5

And while many in tech land are super stoked about what the new iPhone is going to offer this time around, the makers of the best portable speaker on the market are actually more excited about something else that the company might be announcing that day: new earbuds.

New earbuds from Apple

I know, I know – it’s all audio-porn here, but news of this is pretty exciting. These earbuds are probably the second most durable form of audio entertainment on the market, behind a pretty kickass group of wireless speakers I’ve heard of, but they’ve been stuck with the same look and design for-EVER. So, I mean, it’s about damn time they got around to re-doing these things.

News of this possible pending announcement first came from Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn, and was disclosed on Apple hard-on forum “Mac Rumors”. Full details after the jump.

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